Being ‘Eucharist’ for Others
In the Eucharist, Catholics celebrate Jesus’ real presence among them. Jesus offers us the Eucharist as a life vision, a way to live our lives. In fact, to be truly a Christian, we must try to become Eucharist and empower others. There are many people who have lived or are living their lives in this way, for example; Mother Teresa, Ghandi, or our own Fr Peter McVerry , Bob Geldof to name but a few …
Through their work for justice and peace, through their care of the sick and the hungry, the lonely and the isolated, they have in a sense turned the word ‘eucharist’ into a verb, by bringing the love of Jesus to the world through their own giving of themselves for others. We too can be ‘eucharist’ for others by giving of ourselves in order to help and support our fellow human beings.
Jesus was eucharist for others long before he was ever Eucharist sacramentally. In his earthly life he lived in a way that empowered others to live a deeper and so, more fulfilling life. During the Last Supper, Jesus showed us how to offer ourselves to each other in order to build our entire community. This is certainly a big ask!, nonetheless we are invited to try and join Jesus in becoming eucharist for our sisters and brothers, receiving one another as blessed and broken for all.
On 10 June 2004, Pope John Paul II announced the dedication of an entire year to the Blessed Sacrament and invited the entire Church to reflect upon the Eucharist. He stressed that, despite our busy occupations and increasing pressures in life, the Eucharist must be manifest in the truth of our lives today; in our actions; in our sense of values; in our lifestyle, and in our relationships with others.
FOR YOU TO DO 1
- In groups of three discuss how you could be ‘Eucharist’ for others. Together, write up one example and share them with the rest of your class.
The following quotes are from Mother Theresa.
- Choose the one that means the most to you and explain why.
- How do these words help us to articulate that Jesus is here present and active in our world?
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
“A life not lived for others is not a life.”
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”
Who was Eucharist for Jesus?
There is a scene in all of the Gospels where a woman, in the days just prior to Jesus’ death, anoints his feet with an expensive perfume. The onlookers give out about her actions and cannot understand why Jesus would let this woman, a sinner, have anything to do with him. But Jesus told them to leave her alone because she has done something ‘beautiful’ for him she had without knowing it, anointed him before his death. Jesus found comfort in the woman’s actions and felt comforted by her care for him. This woman was eucharist for Jesus, she empowered him and gave him strength for his journey to the cross. This is what being eucharist for each other is all about, caring enough to give strength to the other. It does not have to be a major act that gets everyone’s attention, it can be a small but genuine act of support for a pal, a helping hand at home, a push to do your best, a word of praise for a younger sibling or fellow student … the list is endless.
To be truly Christian we are called to work each day toward this vision of life, to become eucharist, empowerers of others.
FOR YOU TO DO 2
Read the following passage from the bible and watch the short video.
- What one word or phrase strikes you about this passage? Write about your choice and why you chose a particular word or phrase.
- What do you think of the way Jesus interpreted the woman’s actions?
- How can you be ‘eucharist’ for another today? Do you think it is worth the effort? Why? Why not?
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. A woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him – that she is a sinner.’ Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Teacher,’ he replied, ‘Speak.’ ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now, which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’
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